Sunday, November 30, 2014

Canada sending military medics to fight Ebola in Sierra Leone

A medical worker has his name written on a a suit before leaving the red zone at an Ebola treatment centre in Guinea on Nov. 19. Getty Images
The Canadian Press
Canada is sending a team of military medical specialists to Sierra Leone to help combat the spread of Ebola in that country.

The government says up to 40 Canadian Armed Forces health care and support staff will deploy to the West African country.

The military doctors, nurses, medics and support staff will be there for six months and will work alongside military medics from the United Kingdom at the Kerry Town Treatment Unit.

Their task will be to treat local and international healthcare workers who have been exposed to the deadly Ebola virus.

Canada had earlier said it was reluctant to send medical aid workers to West Africa until it had guarantees that it could get people home if they become infected.

Health Minister Rona Ambrose is also launching a campaign to recruit private-sector Canadian health professionals to join the battle against Ebola through the Canadian Red Cross.

Health workers are desperately needed in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea where the virus has been spreading, killing hundreds in its path.

Ambrose has also announced $20.9 million in new additional funding to 10 humanitarian organizations working to address the humanitarian crisis that has resulted from the Ebola outbreak.

According to the World Health Organization, 592 health care workers had been infected with Ebola as of Nov. 23. Of those, 340 have died — the vast majority being local.

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